Presentation - Thinking Schools International

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Welcome to the workshop on
Dialogic Teaching and Learning!
Something to think / talk about
while we are waiting to start:
Would it make any difference
if the workshop were titled
“Dialogic Learning and Teaching”?
1
Learning
"Learning is not the product of teaching.
Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”
John Holt (1967) How Children Learn
“If we taught children to speak, they’d never learn”
Bill Hull, quoted by John Holt, ibid.
2
So, let’s think / talk together
about our workshop objectives …
Outcomes
from
workshop
Here’s one I prepared before!
More learning about
Dialogical Learning
Outcomes
from
today
Better appreciation of
the value of Dialogical
Learning and Teaching
More practice of
Dialogical Teaching
Connecting DL&T with
Philosophical Enquiry
4
Dialogue – back to basics
Dialogue is not just the next step up from monologue!

Dia = through, across (not di = two)

Logos = speech, word
It is not restricted to two-way conversation.
5
Two avoidable extremes
Monologue
I (the ‘teacher’ / workshop ‘leader’)
present all I (think I) know
about dialogic teaching and learning
and you (the ‘learners’ / workshop participants) take private notes

Mock ignorance
I present nothing at all other than very open questions
and expect small groups to self-facilitate

6
Will as well as skill
“We can teach students what constitutes good thinking,
but without their being motivated and disposed
to engage in good thinking when the occasion arises,
such instruction comes to naught.”
John Dewey (1910) How we Think
Dialogue disciplines thinking but also stimulates it.
7
Better teaching / facilitation
Dialogic Learning & Teaching
The teacher / facilitator has ultimate responsibility for
establishing the focus for enquiry,
e.g. introducing a ‘stimulus’,
and for progressing learning,
i.e. making the best use of resources.

That may occasionally require the teacher / facilitator to
introduce information to aid understanding.
But the prime resources for learning are learners’ own
wills and skills to reflect, research and report,
which are best elicited and exercised by dialogue.
8
A Concept SPEC, e.g ‘Work’
Synonyms
Phrases
(the concept in daily use)
Labour, Force, Task, Job
Examples
(i.e. scenarios)
Washing up, Essay-writing,
Nine to five, Ploughing
Work horse / house, Doesn’t work,
All work and no play, Hard work
Connections
(related concepts, inc. antonyms)
Duty, Purpose, Slavery, Effort
Achievement, Industrious,
Leisure, Play
9
A Concept SPEC for ‘Dialogue’
Synonyms
Phrases
(the concept in daily use)
Conversation
Examples
(i.e. scenarios)
A ‘Relate’ meeting
International dialogue
Connections
(related concepts, inc. antonyms)
Feedback
10
Constructivism - 21st century pedagogy,
based on 20th century Psychology
“From the 1980’s,
the Piagetian idea of the child as the ‘lone scientist’
who develops cognitively by interacting with stimulating materials was…
supplemented by the Vygotskian
view that the child’s cognitive development also requires it to
engage, through the medium of spoken language,
with adults, other children and the wider culture.”
- Robin Alexander, Towards Dialogic Teaching, 2004
11
Beyond Speaking and Listening
Dialogic teaching is not National Curriculum
‘speaking and listening’ under another name.
It is grounded in research on the relationship between
language, thinking and understanding,
and in observational evidence
on what makes for truly effective teaching.
Robin Alexander, Towards Dialogic Teaching, 2004
12
John Hattie (2009) Visible Learning
“Somewhat surprisingly, there was no preponderance of evidence
supporting the importance of subject knowledge.”
(p. 248)

“It is not the knowledge or ideas, but the learner’s
construction of this knowledge and these ideas that is critical.”
(p. 239)

“Students need much deliberative practice distributed over the
learning time… 3 or 4 experiences involving interaction
with relevant information for a new knowledge construct to be created
and transferred to long-term memory.”
(p. 242)

13
Dialogic learning
In dialogic classrooms children don’t just provide brief factual
answers to ‘test’ or ‘recall’ questions, or merely spot the
answer which they think the teacher wants to hear.

Instead they learn to:
narrate, explain, analyse, speculate, imagine, explore,
evaluate, discuss, argue, justify
and they ask questions of their own.
Children in dialogic classrooms also
 listen
 think about what they hear
 give others time to think
 respect alternative viewpoints
14
John Hattie (Visible Learning) ctd.
“There seems universal agreement that cooperative learning is effective,
esp. when contrasted with competitive and individualistic learning”
Ibid, p. 212
“The aim is to help students to learn the skills of
teaching themselves – to self-regulate their learning.”
Ibid, p. 245
15
Teaching without Meaning
Evidence suggests that students of all ages have many misconceptions
that are not being effectively addressed by existing instructional methods.
Anderson and Smith (1984), for instance, have noted that elementary
students can pass chapter quizzes on photosynthesis and still not
understand that plants make their own food.
Equator:
A menagerie lion running around the Earth through Africa.

Momentum:
What you give a person when they are going away.


“Vivisection is all right when practised on dead animals.”
16
Modes of Learning
(Research by National Training Laboratories
for Applied Behavioural Sciences, USA)
Audio-visual
5%
1. Listening
Demonstrations
10%
2. Reading
Discussion
20%
3. Audio-visual
Explaining to others 30%
4. Demonstrations
Listening
50%
5. Discussion
Practice by doing
75%
6. Practice by doing
Reading
90%
7. Explaining to others
17
Explaining how (sequencing)
A explains to B:
how to make a cup of tea
B explains to A:
how to brush your teeth
N.B. Instructor may assume normal adult level of
comprehension,
but role of instructee is to be as awkward as possible,
suggesting gaps or vaguenesses in the instructions.
18
Explain and Enquire –
a routine for better learning
Instead of plenary review,
with the teacher asking questions to check learning
(often with only a few giving the answers)
pupils review in pairs
trying to explain to each other (or, better still, to keyword in writing)
the main things they can remember from the lesson.

They are also expected to come up between them with a question
about something they have forgotten or don’t fully understand,
or a new field of enquiry about something connected with the topic.

These questions/enquiries could either be dealt with there and then,
or ‘posted’ for further attention in the next appropriate lesson.
Or pupils might enter them into their Thought Journals or Enquiry Diaries

19
Inspirers of Dialogue and Enquiry
The value of learning with and from others in dialogue,
and especially through raising questions and reasoning about answers,
has long been recognised by philosophers, educators and psychologists.
Perhaps the most important names in this story are:

SOCRATES (famous for the Socratic Method)

DEWEY (for proposing education as Inquiry, and learning as Reflection)

VYGOTSKY (for proposing Socially Mediated Learning)
Think – Pair - Share
Thinking Schools
20
Socratic Questioning – the MTV steps
to understanding and good judgement
1. Questions of Meaning:
Could you explain more clearly (or give an example)?
How does X relate to Y? (or, How is X different from Y)?
2. Questions of Truth (and Validity)
Is that true? (or, What makes you think – or assume - that?)
Does that follow? (or, What follows from that?)
3. Questions of Value
What is interesting, or important, in this?
What lessons can we draw from this? (or, So, what?)
21
Talking and P4C
“The teacher’s goal is to teach students to be better thinkers,
and to do so by engaging students in dialogue.”
“No programme I am aware of is more likely to teach durable
and transferable thinking skills than Philosophy for Children.”
Robert Sternberg, Former President of the American Psychological Association,
and creator of the Triarchic theory of intelligence: Analytical, Creative and Practical
22
Aims of P4C
“The aim of a thinking skills program such as P4C
to help (children) become
more thoughtful, more reflective,
more considerate and more reasonable individuals.”
Matthew Lipman
(1924 - )
23
The 4 Cs of P4C
Thinking mode Thinking focus
Thinking Habit
CRITICAL
ABOUT THINKING
Reflective(ness)
CREATIVE
FOR YOURSELF
Thoughtful(ness)
CARING
OF OTHERS
Considerate(ness)
COLLABORATIVE
WITH OTHERS
Reasonable(ness)
24
A – Z of Ideas
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
S
L
T
M
U
N
V
O
W
P
X
Q
Y
R
Z
25
Pause for reflection on future learning
Dialogue
(esp. w.r.t.
T & L)
What would you still like to know about DT&L?
26
Not a programme but a ideal
Dialogic teaching is not
a single set method of teaching.
It is more a professional outlook or state of mind
than a specific method.
It requires us to rethink not just the techniques we use,
but the classroom relationships we foster
and the balance of power between teacher and taught.
Robin Alexander, Towards Dialogic Teaching, 2004
27
CEC, Exeter - Definition of a Thinking School
An educational community in which all members
share a common commitment to giving regular
careful thought to everything that takes place.
This will involve both students and staff learning how
to think reflectively, critically and creatively,
and employing these skills and techniques in the
co-construction of a meaningful curriculum and
associated activities.
28
CEC, Exeter - Definition of a Thinking School
Successful outcomes will be reflected in students
across a wide range of abilities demonstrating
independent and co-operative learning skills,
high levels of achievement and
both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning.
Benefits will be shown in ways in which all members
of the community interact with and show
consideration for each other and in the positive
psychological well-being of both students and staff.
29
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